|Candice Torian, founder of Newbee Network|
Written by Mike Orie of TheConsciousTip.com
1)First, can you tell us about what Newbee Network is and how the idea came to fruition?
NewbeeNetwork.com is a social way to relocate. What does that mean? We are a community helping each other make the best decisions during a very stressful time in our lives – moving. The average person will move 11 times in their lifetime and it never seems to get easier. While I’ve already reached my 11th move, I felt something needed to be done to streamline the process around the time of my 7th move from Atlanta, GA to Charlotte, NC. The move itself was far too cumbersome but there also wasn’t an easy way to seek out the advice of others who made a similar move under similar circumstances. When I moved from Atlanta to Charlotte I wanted recommendations for the best neighborhoods for a young single professional woman to live. But when I moved from Charlotte to Raleigh as a wife, I was more concerned about school systems for my future children than nightlife. Moving is so much more than the move itself, you are building a new life. Everyone’s moving needs are different. And I knew if I could find a way to address these needs in totality – the logistics and community building, I was meeting a major need in the market.
2) Moving to a new city can be extremely stressful. Can you tell us about a time where you relocated and had to start the process of living in a new city and meeting new people?
The first time I relocated I was 14yrs old and I moved alone. I went from a densely populated urban city (Astoria, Queens N.Y.) to rural Northfield, Massachusetts to attend boarding school at Northfield Mount Hermon. Since, I have moved a total of 11 times for college (Atlanta, GA), career advancement (Charlotte, NC) and love (Raleigh, NC). My smaller moves within these cities have been for better housing. While my age, distance of each move and reasons for my moves varied, the experience was always the same – stressful. The stress is either triggered by the logistics of the move – finding a new place to live, packing and moving, and/or the impact it has on your social life – re-establishing new roots, acquainting yourself to a new neighborhood, finding new friends. There was never a single resource that tackled both the moving logistics and community building. I must have used at least 20 different websites to search for housing, a moving company, opinions on neighborhood safety, statistics on standard of living and the list goes on. I’ve managed moving checklists on excel spreadsheets, post-it stickers and scribbles on my hand. And then prayed someone in my social network either lived in or near my new city or knew someone who did. Rarely was I so lucky. So I would join sites like Meetup to get out or search the internet for any local events I could attend, alone.
3) Since launching this idea, has anyone shared any personal stories or testimonies about how this could possibly help them during a transition?
Yes, many people have reached out to thank us for creating the social network. The messages of gratitude that stand out for me the most are those that speak to the peace of mind the platform has brought them:
I'm moving in 195 days to a whole new city and state! I was lost without this website! I love a good check list and the way they have it written out is amazing! It helps me with the big things and the little things that I personally have to do with a due date. If your moving even to a new city or state.... trust me you need this website! It's just that good!
Outside of testimonies, we noticed the most popular page on the site is the Friend Finder page. So based on early reads of data, it appears the social element is the driving force of the site and we waged our initial bets accurately. The ability to reach out to someone in your new city is the greatest value that we bring for anyone moving or new in town.
4) Right now you have close to 1200 people who have signed up. What's a goal or amount you think it will take for this to be successful?
Success for any business really depends on the size of the market for that businesses product or service and the competition’s handle on that market. Our market is the moving industry. Every city has different moving rates. If we can capture 10% of the moving population for a given city during a moving season that would be our “made it” moment, for that city. With little to no competition in the “moving made social” business (we are creating this new genre), it’s a goal we can meet in the very near future for a few metropolitan areas of which most our early adopters represent (Atlanta, NYC, Dallas, Charlotte and Houston)
5) Can you tell us about all the features of the app and how you're developing these 'Welcome To The Neighborhood' deals?
Fortunately, I have worked for Fortune 500 companies as a marketing technologist for over 8 years. My track record has allowed me to go back to many of my former clients and employers to secure their buy-in on NewbeeNetwork.com as an acquisition channel for their business. While I work to solidify these enterprise level partnerships, I have a sales team working to build relationships with local businesses in cities where we see the highest growth potential based on trends amongst our early adopters. From these partnerships we will garner a collection of ‘Welcome To The Neighborhood’ deals.
6) African Americans are very underrepresented in the tech industry. Your idea will bring people of all walks of life together for one great cause. Where do you go to seek motivation and inspiration as you navigate through this industry?
Honestly, I tune a lot of the grim statistics out. My focus is on the delivery of a product that transforms the way we move in the U.S. I am fortunate enough to have a very successful freelance career in marketing technology and data analytics that has funded the business thus far and will fund it until it reaches the level of traction that is hard to ignore, regardless of my gender or race. I don’t go too far for motivation and inspiration, it all comes from the NewbeeNetwork.com community. My users motivate me when I receive validation that the product is improving their lives and they inspire me with feedback and suggestions that improve the platform. I also have mentors in the industry that advise me very regularly.
7) What challenges do you foresee in the future?
Prioritizing feedback at its current volume will continue to be a challenge. Discernment is also important in the prioritization of feedback. The ability to discern between feedback that is critical to the business vs feedback that is out of scope and potentially harmful to the business is an ability I will need to continue to strengthen. A good example is the feedback we received from business owners to open the platform up to them. While on the surface this seems it could be an instant revenue stream, it could very easily be a quick way to ostracize our members and drive them off with what would likely be an immediate bombardment of messages from businesses pushing their product. So provisions would have to be put in place before we would ever open the platform up. When we are on the fence about whether to act on a particular piece of feedback we go back to our mission statement “to take a cumbersome logistically moving process and turn it into one that fun, interactive and community oriented.” Every decision we make should be in pursuit of that mission.
8) What has been the place you've enjoyed living the most?
Northfield, Massachusetts. I have pondered this question before and my answer always makes me chuckle because when I lived in Northfield, MA while attending boarding school I was miserable. The transition from a densely populated and very diverse urban community to one that was extremely rural and not nearly as diverse was difficult to navigate at such a young age. I missed everything from NY pizza to the sounds of emergency vehicles in the middle of the night J Now, you couldn’t pay me to live in a city. And I have done everything in my adult life to recreate the serenity of Northfield, MA.
9) From your experience, can you tell us what you believe are some of the most essential things for everyone moving to a new city?
One simple rule - seek out advice from someone in your new city before you move or make any big decisions like where to live in your new city. When I was single and early in my career without a car, I wanted to live in an area close to public transit that was safe and populated with other young professionals. That was essential to me and I got advice from a future co-worker with a similar lifestyle. Those needs are very different for a military family moving or someone retiring. Find someone, on NewbeeNetwork.com of course, who’s moving circumstances are similar. They will be your best advisors.
10) What's your educational background?
If you attended college (or not), how do you feel your current life experiences have prepared you to develop Newbee? I place more weight and credit on my professional experience than I do my education. I have a BA in Economics and Organizational Management. But it was my career in marketing technology coupled with my many moves that heavily inspired and prepared me to develop NewbeeNetwork.com and lead the business as CEO.
11) What are your long term goals for Newbee if you have them?
What can we expect for the future? Our long term goal is that our tagline, a social way to relocate, will no longer be a foreign concept. That NewbeeNetwork.com would have created a new genre in social networking that really resonates with the 37million people who move in the US every year. And when researchers poll participants in the US for a list of their most stressful life events, moving will no longer be in the top 3 because of NewbeeNetwork.com.
12) When will the app officially launch? What cities are you hoping to launch it in? (both initially and as you expand)
The website officially launches April 1, 2017. But beta will remain open and anyone that signs up now will not have to sign up again. The app won’t be available until Winter 2017
13) Is there anything else you'd like to share with the Curly Nikki audience?
Our beta site is still open. We’d love for your readers to sign-up and send us their feedback. They have the unique opportunity to shape the product that will be released April 1, 2017.